Saudi interrogators 'tortured' women's rights activists, report claims

Saudi interrogators forced jailed women’s rights activists to perform sex acts, hung them from ceilings and ‘tortured’ them with electric shocks, report claims

  • Women’s rights activists are forced to kiss and perform sex acts on their interrogators in Saudi Arabia prisons, according to the report
  • Inmates were allegedly forced to watch pornography and threatened with rape
  • Human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy called on nations to boycott G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia unless the women are set free

Women’s rights activists are being forced to kiss and perform sex acts on their interrogators in jails in Saudi Arabia, according to a shock new report.

Inmates were also made to watch pornography, threatened with rape, hung from the ceiling, beaten and suffered electric shocks during treatment which ‘amounted to torture’.

In a 40-page report, human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy called on nations to boycott this weekend’s G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia unless the women are set free.

Among a litany of abuse meted out to the prisoners, she included:

‘Forcing the Women’s Rights Activists to perform sexual acts on the interrogators, and other forms of sexual harassment such as forcing them to watch of pornography.

Baroness Helena Kennedy said in the report that several sources reported that Loujain Al-Hathloul and Eman Al-Nafjan ‘had been forced to kiss and perform other sexual acts on interrogators’. Above, Loujain Al-Hathloul was jailed after filming herself behind the wheel of a car before a driving ban on women was lifted. (file photo) 

‘At least one source reported that Aida Al-Ghamdi had been forced to watch pornography, and several sources reported that Loujain Al-Hathloul and Eman Al-Nafjan had been forced to kiss and perform other sexual acts on interrogators’.

Al-Hathloul, 31, once shared a stage with the then Meghan Markle at the One Young World Summit in Canada and was later jailed after filming herself behind the wheel of a car before a driving ban on women was lifted.

The report claimed that her interrogation had been overseen by Saud Al-Qahtani, a member of the crown prince’s inner circle, who was accused of orchestrating the killing of the Jamal Khashoggi.

The report claimed that Al-Hathloul’s interrogation had been overseen by Saud Al-Qahtani, who was accused of orchestrating the killing of Jamal Khashoggi 

In echoes of the dismemberment of the dissident journalist at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul he was said to have told one of the women: ‘I’ll do whatever I like to you, and then I’ll dissolve you and flush you down the toilet’.

Another woman activist claimed her interrogation sessions were overseen by the de facto Saudi ruler’s younger brother, Khalid bin Salman.

The report said he would boast about his position of power saying: ‘Do you know who I am? I am Prince Khalid bin Salman, I am the ambassador to the US, and I can do anything I like to you’.

The prisoners were often transferred between Dhahban prison, near Jeddah, and an ‘unofficial detention facility’, according to the report. 

Baroness Kennedy said Saudi Arabia was in breach of numerous human rights agreements and treaties it had signed up to by its treatment of women whose charges included campaigning for a new political system in Saudi Arabia, talking to British journalists for a documentary and applying for a job at the UN.

In a 40-page report, human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy (pictured) called on nations to boycott this weekend’s G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia unless the women are set free (file photo)

Speaking at the launch of her report, called ‘A Stain on World Leaders and the G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia: The shameful detention and torture of Saudi women’, she said:

‘None of these would amount to crimes in any decent nation, and that is the problem. This is an unacceptable abuse of human beings.’

Talking about being made to perform sex acts on their tormentors she added: ‘Being expected to deliver for interrogators, what that has done to the soul of a woman is so terrible.’

A UN women’s rights committee has called for the release of Al-Hathloul whose deterioration in health since going on hunger strike on October 26th has been described as ‘deeply alarming’.

Calling on the UK not to attend the G20 – one of whose themes is female empowerment – Baroness Kennedy said: ‘Just because people are your trading partners should not permit this kind of licence to abuse human beings.

‘I want to call upon those who are going to be participating in the G20 meeting to say: ‘We will only participate in this meeting being hosted by the crown prince, on behalf of Saudi Arabia, it will only take place if you release this women’.

Earlier this month the Saudi ambassador to the UK said the women activists might be granted clemency and released ahead of the virtual G20 summit but human rights campaigners dismissed his remarks as a ‘PR stunt’.

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